When I was at school, I had a friend who suggested a book to me. It was called City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, a book about angels, vampires, warlocks, witches and magic. A tale that told the story of a young girl, named Clary, who would soon discover that her history is far more fantastical and dark than she had originally perceived. Together, my friend and I were lost in a world of Shadowhunters, part angel human beings, with the ability to cast runes and defeat demons, where there were tales of love, hope, betrayal and family.
But once we both finished the second novel, City of Ashes and then the third, City of Glass, I felt my connection to the series slipping away. After years of being avid fans and discussing ships we liked and theories we had, I lost my friend. We drifted apart and I never saw her again. And my love for Clary’s world went with her. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the fourth book in the series, City of Fallen Angels, stored away in my room amongst a pile of books that I needed to sort through, did I feel an immense wave of nostalgia float over me. I knew then, that I had to return to the world I had once ventured in as a teenager.
And I was not let down.
Through the remaining three books, I discovered the friendships I had once loved, the couples that I wanted to be together forever, my love for Jace and also, the need to hit him in the head for being too good and self-sacrificing and the happiness I felt while reading and watching as Clary grew into a Shadowhunter. A skilled fighter and rune drawer, who created portals and plans to catch Sebastian, who loved fiercely and protected her loved ones with all her strength. Once more, I was in a world where magic was real.
In City of Fallen Angels, I followed Simon’s journey and growth, as he tried to deal with being a vampire and his relationships with two girls, Isabelle and Maia. And while Clary grew stronger and stronger in her training, Jace grew weaker, troubled and haunted by horrific nightmares. It is a tale that delves deeper into cult magic and demons, the use of demon blood on children, all with the terrible sense of dread that Sebastian was soon to return. Which he does.
In City of Lost Souls, we watched as Simon is shunned from his house and Clary escapes Magnus’ home to find Jace, who is now under the control of Sebastian. She keeps her connection to Simon through Faerie rings, ones that belonged to the Seelie Queen, in the hopes of bringing Jace back and destroying Sebastian’s plan. In a novel that has Jace lost and confused, trapped behind the dark blood that now runs through his veins and controls him, making him into a darker, stranger version of himself, we watch as Clary fights demons and plays up to wanting to join Sebastian. She discovers what Sebastian plans to do and when Jace regains control of his mind for a moment, he tells her that he is going to turn himself in for the things he has committed by Sebastian’s request. He later goes to the Seventh Site, once more under Sebastian’s control.
The novel ends with Clary fighting off her brother, Sebastian, or what could’ve been her brother, if not for Valentine. Sebastian is obsessed with Clary and tries to force himself upon her and in a scene where we fear for Clary’s safety and burn with hatred for Sebastian, she manages to overthrow him and escape his horrid hands. In the end, they end up at the Seventh Site with Jace, where Sebastian’s followers drink from his Infernal Cup to turn their angelic blood, demonic. Clary stabs Jace with Raziel’s sword, which Simon gets after summoning the angel, and with the heavenly fire in the sword, the bad that Sebastian put in Jace is stripped away.
In City of Heavenly Fire, we are introduced to new characters and greet old ones. Alec is broken hearted over his break up with Magnus in the previous novel, Isabelle and Simon have reconciled as have Maia and Jordan Kyle, her ex-boyfriend as revealed previously. It is in Alicante where meetings take place due to attacks on several institutes and we meet Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, both of whom are major characters in The Dark Artificies. During a meeting with the Faerie’s representative, Luke, Magnus, Raphael, Jocelyn are captured and taken to Edom, where Sebastian is now reigning. In order to, save them and destroy Sebastian, Jace, Clary, Isabelle, Simon and Alec travel there, where they are met with great challenges and in the end, the fight with Sebastian. Stabbing him with her sword, Heosphoros, which she had earlier used to save Jace and so the heavenly fire was transferred to her sword, effectively killing Sebastian. He reverts back to who he would have been, Jonathan, and tells them how to destroy the cup and all its followers. He dies, feeling lighter than ever, free at last from the demon blood.
We are given a hopeful ending by Clare, where Clary mourns the loss of her best friend, only to be surprised at the end at her mother’s wedding, Alec and Magnus reconcile, Jace and Clary are still very much in love and Isabelle takes comfort in the fact that Simon remembers her – and will remember all when he becomes a Shadowhunter.
It is the ending we needed. A bright, hopeful and happier one.